What Are Common Types of Parasomnias Affecting Sleep Quality?

The most common parasomnias affecting sleep include sleepwalking, sleep terrors, REM sleep behavior disorder, and nightmares. These can be treated by improving sleep hygiene.


It’s the sound most commonly used to depict sleep, but it’s not experienced by all sleepers as cartoons suggest. Even more, when snoring does occur, it’s not necessarily representing deep sleep—it’s typically a sign that your breathing is obstructed or hindered in some way.

While light snoring often goes undetected, loud snorts or rasps can wake up you or your partner, leading to poor sleep and a fatigue that lingers for the entire day. However, there are some steps you can take to reduce snoring, and if they don’t work, your doctor can help you get to the bottom of this nighttime disruptor.

Why Do We Snore?

Snoring is what occurs when air passes by relaxed tissues in the throat, causing the tissues to vibrate and creating the sound we associate with snoring. 

Nearly everyone snores now and then, but some people may be chronic snorers. Beyond keeping your partner awake at night, this frequent snoring may also indicate a serious health condition. 

Many factors contribute to whether or not you snore, including the anatomy of your mouth. An elongated uvula (the piece of tissue hanging in the back of your throat) can obstruct airflow and cause vibrations to increase. Furthermore, if you have a low, thick soft palate—whether because of genetics or being overweight—it can narrow your airway. 

Nasal problems can also contribute to snoring, with those who have a deviated septum or chronic nasal congestion more likely to experience snoring. 

Other factors can increase the likelihood of snoring, as well. Drinking too much alcohol before bed can relax the throat muscles, increasing airway obstruction and snoring. Your sleep position can also affect snoring, with back-sleepers more likely to snore because gravity weighs on the throat and narrows the airways.

As snoring may be a sign of poor sleep, it’s best to try and reduce snoring; your partner will thank you, too! 

Techniques To Stop Snoring

Snoring can affect how long and how well you sleep, so most snorers often look for a way to have a quieter and more restful night.

If your snoring is caused by a minor factor, it can often be remedied by following the techniques below.

Maintain a Healthy Weight

Those who are overweight are more likely to snore because their throat has more tissue, which decreases the size of their airways. By losing weight and then maintaining a healthy weight, you may be able to stop snoring. 

If you need to lose weight, it’s best to work with a doctor to create a plan that meets your body’s needs, but some lifestyle habits to include are eating nutrient-rich food in smaller portions and getting regular exercise. 

Avoid Alcohol Close to Bedtime

Alcohol can cause the muscles in your throat to relax, leading to snoring, so try to avoid alcohol for at least 3 hours before bed. 

Additionally, avoid taking other sedatives, such as sleep aids, as they work similarly to alcohol and can cause the muscles in your throat to relax. If you currently take sedatives, talk to your doctor about other options. 

Change Your Sleeping Position

Sleeping on your back increases your risk of snoring because gravity pushes in on your throat muscles, causing your airway to compress. It can also cause your tongue to move to the back of your throat, blocking airflow.

If you suffer from snoring and are a back-sleeper, try sleeping on your side. This will prevent your tongue from blocking your throat, keeping your airway open. As an added benefit, sleeping on your side can also aid digestion and provide relief from back pain.

Raise Your Bed

Lifting the head of your bed by just a few inches can help to keep your airways open, reducing snoring. You can lift the entire bed using bed risers, or an alternative is to use an extra pillow to lift your head up. Don’t use too many pillows, though—you don’t want to strain your neck.

Try Nasal Strips

Nasal strips are placed on the bridge of the nose, and they help to increase the space in the nasal passage, allowing for better airflow. This can be enough to reduce or even eliminate snoring in some people. 

In addition to nasal strips, which stick to the nose like a band aid, you could also try an internal nasal dilator, which goes inside the nose and pushes the sides out, increasing the airways. 

What Might Snoring Be a Sign Of?

In some cases, loud snoring may be a sign of the sleep disorder obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), which results in stopped breathing during the night due to obstructions in the airways. 

Snoring on its own does not indicate OSA; however, if any of the following symptoms accompanies snoring, it’s worth checking with your doctor for further evaluation:

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Witnessed breathing pauses during sleep
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Gasping or choking at night
  • Sore throat when waking in the morning
  • Morning headaches
  • Chest pain at night
  • High blood pressure
  • Restless sleep
  • Snoring loud enough to disrupt your partner’s sleep

If you have any of the above symptoms, it’s best to see a doctor to inquire about further evaluation, as leaving OSA untreated can be dangerous. 

Yet another possibility is that your snoring is related to allergies, with congestion a possible cause of poor airflow. Over-the-counter options are available for allergies, but your doctor can also help you get a prescription medication if needed. 

Your snoring may also be because of a deviated septum, which you can be born with or may get after an injury. A deviated septum occurs when the wall separating your nose’s right and left sides is misaligned, creating a poor airway. Those with a deviated septum may breathe through their mouth during the night, which can lead to snoring. 

If your snoring results from one of these medical conditions, your doctor can provide a proper diagnosis and discuss treatment options. 

Say Goodbye to Snoring

Snoring not only hinders your partner’s sleep, but it can also keep you from getting the quality sleep you need to feel refreshed—instead, you’ll probably wake up feeling tired with a sore throat and headache, which is not an ideal way to start your day. 

As a result of limited or obstructed airflow, snoring can be naturally managed by opting for habits that help increase airways or, at the very least, stop habits that can cause them to decrease. Some techniques that can help stop snoring naturally include maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding alcohol before bed, changing your sleeping position, raising your bed, or trying nasal strips. 

Pillow offers resources that can further explore different sleep disorders that may cause snoring as a side effect and habits to help promote wellness through sleep. 


Written by

Jessica G.

Medical writer freelancer who has written hundreds of articles on varying topics. Masters of Engineering degree in Biomedical Engineering.

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